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In 1688, a group of leading politicians invited the Dutch prince William of Orange over to England to challenge the rule of the catholic James II. When James's army deserted him he fled to France, leaving the throne open to William and Mary. During the following year a series of bills were passed which many believe marked the triumph of constitutional monarchy as a system of government. In this radical new interpretation of the Glorious Revolution, Edward Vallance challenges the view that it was a bloodless coup in the name of progress and wonders whether in fact it created as many problems as it addressed. Certainly in Scotland and Ireland the Revolution was characterised by warfare and massacre. Beautifully written, full of lively pen portraits of contemporary characters and evocative of the increasing climate of fear at the threat of popery, this new book fills a gap in the popular history market and sets to elevate Edward Vallance to the highest league of popular historians.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780349117331
ISBN-10: 0349117330
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 128mm x 26mm)
Pages: 384
Imprint: Abacus
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 1-Feb-2007
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » England's Glorious Revolution was far more sanguinary and disruptive than traditional histories and the popular imagination would have it, argues Vallance (Early Modern History/Univ. of Liverpool).The author hasn't entirely shed dissertation-ese in his first book, a sometimes stodgy and generally humorless, though otherwise sensible and sturdy effort. Britain's King James II, converted to Roman Catholicism, endeavored to liberate Catholics around the British Isles, causing many to wonder if the Isles were slated for more rounds of heresy-hunting, burnings and forced conversions. The birth of James's son with his Catholic second queen prompted the final crisis, since it would prevent the throne from passing to James's Protestant daughters from his first marriage. When William of Orange, husband of elder daughter Mary, invaded England from Holland, many Britons cheered. James raised an army of opposition but little other support; even his younger daughter, Anne, slipped out of London and allied with William and Mary. James declined his chance to fight - hence the revolution's reputation as bloodless. He ran, was captured and practically had to be forced to "escape" by his Dutch guards, who simply wanted James out of the country so William and Mary could assume the throne without messy complications. Anne returned to reign following their deaths; after her, George I established the Hanoverian line and kept Britain safely Protestant, not to mention newly considerate of Parliament. Vallance excels at showing how the emerging press played a pivotal role in the transition, wryly noting the influence of both booze and coffee on the populace's fiery political fervor. The author also reminds us that the revolution was far from bloodless in Ireland and Scotland, where religious passions ran deep and the ultimate political settlements were "far more divisive." Among Vallance's few light moments: a funny word portrait of famously ugly King William.Provocative dissenting view on a major historical event, but it could have used a lighter touch and a breath of wit. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Edward Vallance

Edward Vallance completed his B.A and PhD at Balliol College, Oxford. From 2000 to 2002 he was the De Velling Willis Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield. He is now a lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Liverpool.

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